March 2, 1938 - Jan. 22, 2020
The Rev. Calvin W. Babcock, who died Jan. 22 of cancer in his Niagara Falls home at age 81, was the kind of man who made things happen.
"If he thought it needed to be done and he didn't see somebody doing it, he did it himself," said Robyn L. Krueger, Mr. Babcock's successor as executive director of Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier, which serves and shelters the poor and homeless in Niagara Falls.
Mr. Babcock headed Community Missions from 1976 to 1994.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Babcock also was administrator of Hiawatha Manor, a facility in Niagara Falls for developmentally disabled adults.
"He was a very dedicated, sometimes challenging, individual who did everything he did to the benefit of the individuals that we served," Krueger said Thursday. "He often was impatient when things didn't go as quickly as he thought they should, either for the individual or from the state in terms of regulations."
On one occasion, Mr. Babcock journeyed to Albany and confronted the commissioner of the state Division for Youth over a funding cut for Community Missions.
Krueger said Mr. Babcock raised such a ruckus in the commissioner's office that the agency complained to Community Missions about it. But the funding was restored.
"He had no shyness about saying what he thought," Krueger said.
Mr. Babcock continued in the same style when, after retiring from Community Missions, he took charge of the Niagara Beautification Commission, a citizen group dedicated to sprucing up Niagara Falls.
"He thought things should be pretty and he wanted to make an impression," Krueger said. "He upset a lot of government officials and union folks and others because it either wasn't moving fast enough or they didn't assign people to do the work."
Mr. Babcock was born in Elmira, the son of a minister. He graduated from East Aurora High School and Baldwin-Wallace College, where he met his future wife, the former Janet Turner. They married on June 18, 1960.
After serving two years in the Army in Syracuse, Mr. Babcock earned a master of divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology. While studying there, he served as pastor of a church in North Truro, Mass.
After being ordained as a United Methodist minister, Mr. Babcock served at various times as pastor of churches in Batavia, Niagara Falls, Middleport and Cambria, as well as Central Park United Methodist Church in Buffalo.
He also served as a community minister for the Buffalo district and as chaplain for the LaSalle Yacht Club in Niagara Falls.
Besides his wife, survivors include his son, Grant; two daughters, Julie DeRubes and Carla Mackenna; and eight grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in St. James United Methodist Church, 4661 Porter Road, Niagara Falls.